Aiming to capture tourism market

OPERATORS of a luxury hunting lodge say Tasmania could be home to a world-class hunting industry.

Paul and Shauna Ellis opened Herne Lodge in 2011, which is a one of a kind in the state that offers visitors guided deer hunting experiences.

Situated in the Central Highlands, Mr Ellis said he had been amazed at the interest the lodge has attracted from the mainland and overseas.

‘‘We built it slowly, but it’s really taking off,’’ Mr Ellis said.

‘‘They’ve tried everything else and now they want to try something different,’’ he said.

Fallow deer had been running wild on the Merino property for many years.

‘‘I said, if we can’t get rid of them, let’s make money out of them,’’ Mr Ellis said.

Mr Ellis said New Zealand did hunting tourism well, and he’d like to see a world-class industry here in Tasmania.

‘‘We would love to see three or four lodges open up like we have,’’ he said.

‘‘Like Tasmania’s whisky industry, one starts out, and then others, and suddenly you’ve got a whole industry,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t see any reason why this couldn’t be developed the same way,’’ he said.

The lodge can host two lots of hunters at a time, and offers spa baths, open fires and gourmet food.

Mr Ellis gives guests firearm training and teaches responsible hunting.

While the March open season is the busiest time for the lodge, from May onwards doe can be hunted, and Mr Ellis said there was growing interest from overseas guests in hunting wallabies and possums.

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